Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg returned to his alma mater today to award Certificates of Financial Literacy to Tekamah-Herman High School students who have completed the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program.
The online financial literacy program is provided to Nebraska high schools by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program, at no cost to the students, the schools, or the taxpayers.
“Congratulations and best wishes to all of you who have gained a greater understanding of personal finance through Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars. You have positioned yourselves to be smart consumers, wise investors, and financially responsible adults,” Treasurer Stenberg told the students in a recognition ceremony at Tekamah-Herman High School.
Stenberg graduated from, what was then, Tekamah High School in 1966, and his brother, Neal, graduated in 1968. The brothers’ parents owned and operated a small dry cleaning business out of their home. Don Stenberg said he delivered newly cleaned clothes to neighbors and occasionally waited on customers.
To earn money for college, he detasseled corn, hauled bales, mowed lawns, and was a life guard at the Tekamah swimming pool, jobs that enabled him to help pay for his education at the University of Nebraska. He also lettered in track and received a track scholarship at NU. After graduating from Nebraska, he went on to graduate from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
After the ceremony at Tekamah-Herman High School, Stenberg visited Lincoln Christian High School in Lincoln to award Certificates of Financial Literacy to students there. Last week, he presented certificates to students who completed the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program in Minden and Alliance and encouraged schools across the state to make use of the Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars program.
“You represent more than 700 Nebraska high school students who have benefited – and will continue to benefit – from Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars,” Stenberg told the Tekamah-Herman students. The online educational program was developed by EverFi, Inc., a technology company headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Nebraska NEST Financial Scholars can be accessed by Nebraska high school teachers and students through the State Treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.org. Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee of NEST, a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office.
In May 2013 Stenberg announced that NEST would sponsor the EverFi program for schools across the state.
“Two objectives guided that decision: I wanted to encourage financial literacy education statewide, and I wanted to increase awareness of the benefits of savings for college through NEST,” he said.
In all, 74 schools in Nebraska are making the NEST Financial Scholars program available to their students. To date, the program has reached more than 2,000 students in some way, and, as of today, 736 students will have been certified as NEST Financial Scholars.
In another 42 Nebraska schools, the EverFi program has been provided through the sponsorship or co-sponsorship of local banks. The EverFi program is made available to students in the Lincoln Public Schools under the sponsorship of Union Bank and Trust Co. and Nelnet.
While NEST has provided initial seed funding for the statewide sponsorship, EverFi continues to work with banks, foundations, and corporations to seek additional funding to make sure that high school students across Nebraska have access to financial literacy education through the EverFi program.
“Financial literacy is a critical life skill,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “Concepts of savings, credit, investments, interest rates, and mortgages surround us all every day. As students, you need this essential knowledge to make wise financial decisions in your lifetimes. I am pleased to work with Nebraska teachers and EverFi to reimagine the way financial education is taught today.”
EverFi’s web-based teaching platform uses new media technologies—video, animations, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking—to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation. Topics include credit cards, credit scores, insurance, mortgages, savings, stocks, student loans, taxes, 401 (k) plans, and other personal finance concepts that meet national financial literacy standards. The course is presented in 10 modules and takes about eight hours to complete.
Each student who completes the course earns a Certification in Financial Literacy, which can be used on social media platforms and on college admission applications and employment resumes.
EverFi, Inc. is the leading education technology company focused on teaching, assessing, and certifying K-12 and college students in the critical skills they need for life. The company teams with major corporations and foundations to provide the programs at no cost to K-12 schools. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EverFi investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Twitter founder Evan Williams, Rethink Education, New Enterprise Associates, Inc., and Tomorrow Ventures (the investment arm of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt). Learn more at www.everfi.com.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.